April 16, 2009
Contact: Brian McCann
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland State bolstered its lineup for the 2009-10 campaign with the signing of two junior college student-athletes to national letters of intent to attend CSU and play basketball beginning this fall. CSU head coach Gary Waters made the announcement on Thursday (April 16).
Signing with the Vikings are Lance James (Lithonia Springs, GA/Aiken Tech) and Jared Cunningham (Oregon City, OR/Arkansas-Fort Smith). Both will be juniors next season and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
The duo will join guard Anthony Wells (Shaker Heights, OH) and forward Kevin Anderson (Irving, TX/Technical Career Institute) who signed with the program during the fall.
"The addition of both Lance and Jared to the Viking basketball family will help us to offset the losses caused by the graduation of our five seniors," Waters said. "They will allow us to play the kind of pressure defensive basketball that I have been longing to play here but only used in spots because of our limited depth."
James, a 5-11, 205-pound point guard, earned third team All-America honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association this past season after ranking seventh nationally in scoring with 23.4 points a game at Aiken Tech. He was also fifth in the nation in steals (3.3) and 16th in both three-point field goal percentage (61-125, .488) and assists (6.1). He was also second on the team averaging 6.1 rebounds a game.
A New Jersey All-Group I second team selection after averaging 17.9 points and 9.2 assists per game as a high school senior, he led the LEAP Academy to a 25-4 record. He originally signed with Albany out of high school but left after one semester.
"Lance will provide some immediate support at point guard, a position where we have a strong need because of the departure of Cedric Jackson," Waters said. "His perimeter scoring will enhance our offense and he also excels as a leader on the floor. He will be a good fit for our style of play."
Cunningham, a 6-9, 225-pound power forward, was a two-year starter at Arkansas-Fort Smith, helping the team to a 51-13 record in two seasons, including a 28-4 mark as a freshman in 2007-08. He averaged 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in his two seasons, shooting .509 from the field (216-424), .387 from three-point (65-168) and .798 from the line (83-104).
Ranked as the fourth-best player in Oregon by rivals.com as a senior at Oregon City High, he averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds a game to earn a nomination for McDonald's All-America honors.
"Jared's ability to shoot the three-ball, defend the paint and rebound will help us immediately to fill the loss of our four senior post players," Waters said. "He has the size and mobility to be a solid defender, rebounder and scorer for us."
The Vikings, who went 26-11, won the Horizon League Tournament Championship and defeated Wake Forest in the opening round of the NCAA Championship, will return two starters and seven lettermen for the 2009-10 season